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Letter to the Editor for March 16, 2015

New gift turns me into a gold panner

I received a gift in the mail the other day — a brand new gold panning kit. It came from one of my old ironworking chums that I had left behind in the Portland / Vancouver area. Vaughn must have figured I needed more things to keep me busy. Feeling somewhat obligated, my wife and I made plans to try it out.

Back home you couldn’t look crosswise at a river or stream without some sort of permit, license or pamphlet so I set out to cover our bases. It was all about the fish in Vancouver so my first stop was with Fish and Wildlife. They had no problem but referred me to BLM. BLM shrugged their shoulders, as if I had interrupted their extremely important day with a stupid question, warning me to stay away from other people’s claims. The National Forest people had no problem as long as we weren’t bringing in heavy equipment. So with no more knowledge, than before, we headed into the woods. Long story short — no gold, wet feet and sore backs. 

While recovering I remembered a recent newspaper article by Jayson Jacoby. It had touched on some gold history of this area so I shot him an e-mail asking if he had any information steering us in a gold finding direction. He instantly responded with an informative article from a past issue of the Herald. The article pushed me towards the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI). Jayson had referenced them in the recent article also but it had escaped my attention (oldtimer’s disease).

Barb and I took the short walk to the courthouse and the DOGAMI office. This is where we met Jason McClaughry (Eastern Oregon regional geologist). There is not enough words to express how thoughtful and helpful this gentleman was. He answered every one of our gold panning questions and when I mentioned our interest in rockhounding he came alive. He freely shared his valuable knowledge, sending us on a future full of travel and discovery.  A huge thank you to both Jayson and Jason for making us feel we matter.  

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for March 13, 2015

John Hoopes the right choice for county sheriff

I would like to express my vote of confidence in John Hoopes to be chosen as sheriff of Baker County.

I have known John since he was a young boy. I have watched him grow to become a hard-working, honest person. I have seen him in all phases of his life. I know him to be a person of trust. He has been a great help to many people.

He has given his time, energy and knowledge to a stranded person, a stranger or a friend in their time of need.

He is one to take his job seriously and to learn and implement that knowledge to not only help others but to teach them the things he has experienced and done. He would be a great leader to those in the department.

He joined the Marine Corps to serve his country in times of turmoil. Anyone that has been in the armed forces knows the pressure of basic training and also the many hours of intense training to handle yourself and others in your specialty assignment. He served overseas and in this country.

The Corps had enough faith in him to make an example of what the Marine Corps could do for an individual. They gave him the responsibility to be a recruiter. He traveled around the country talking of the advantages that would be theirs if they joined the Corps.

I know that John is one who understands, can instruct others, give assignments, listen and make decisions. His objective is for each officer to be dedicated, cooperate with each other, and feel good about their jobs.

He has had 15 years with the department and has knowledge of what will be required as a sheriff. He wants for each of us to feel that where there is a need, someone will be there to help us all to be safe in any circumstance we find ourselves in.

Bob Harris

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 18, 2015

B2H power line threatens county’s crown jewel

 I admire Whit Deschner’s letter to the editor of Feb. 4 about his opinion of the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission line. I agree with him.

I live in Bend and read what I can on your paper, but am not a subscriber. I am an avid Oregon Trail supporter and also a fan of the Interpretive Center on Flagstaff Hill.

It is my opinion that this power line will have a very negative effect on the Center and Baker City and its tourism in general. I have not seen much about the power line in the newspaper other an announcements of meeting, etc. This is the crown jewel of Baker County, I would hope the newspaper would get behind a public outcry against the power line.

Gail Carbiener


Kitzhaber accomplished much during his long career

John Kitzhaber got a lot more right during his distinguished 35-year political career than your editorial of Feb. 16 allows. Once the dust settles from the current upheaval, I trust that we will be able to look back with gratitude at his efforts on our behalf.  

On Feb. 15, the conservative editorial board of The Oregonian published a balanced assessment of Kitzhaber. I would like to quote their summary of his accomplishments as an example of a worthy tribute to a progressive and dedicated public servant:

“This is a regrettable moment in Oregon history. Kitzhaber’s imprint on Oregon shows vision and leadership. He advocated for policies to save salmon and other native species, helping the state balance economic development and energy needs with its extraordinary natural bounty. He conceived and guided implementation of the Oregon Health Plan, offering health insurance to hundreds of thousands of needy Oregonians. He conceived and led the state’s health care transformation, with an eye to pushing medical costs down — potentially a national model for health care delivery. And he steadfastly championed efforts to expand early literacy programs as the key to successful public education.”

Marshall McComb

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for March 4, 2015

Unborn children remain second-class citizens

In the 19th century, Native Americans were severely mistreated. To the government, they were an obnoxious impediment to the settlement of the continent, and so should be removed by any means fair or foul. They were herded onto lands which nobody else wanted. Indian treaties were routinely broken. Whites often murdered Indians with impunity, but let a couple of bucks seek revenge, and the cavalry was called out.

However, from William Penn on, the Quakers treated Indians fairly and with honor. To them, all mankind, including Indians, were created in the image of God and so worthy of respect. Quakers became advocates for the Indians and sought to get Americans to recognize our common humanity. Attitudes did change over the years, and nobody today believes that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

Black slavery ended in the 19th century, but African-Americans remained second-class citizens far into the 20th century. Blacks were denied the right to vote, sometimes violently. They were regarded as an inferior race, and “kept in their place” through segregation. Blacks were often lynched.

Rev. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders reminded Americans that our founding documents state that all men are created equal, and that we all are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Their educational efforts paid off, and today we have a black president, something unthinkable not that many years ago.

Another group of human beings remains second-class citizens today, our unborn children. The Constitution promises us all the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet our unborn children are often denied the right to life, and without that, the other two are meaningless. In the ancient Roman and Greek cultures, a child’s father had the absolute right of life or death for his children. He decided whether a newborn would be welcomed into the family or abandoned on a hillside to die of exposure. All we have done is to change from the father to the mother which parent has the power to choose life or death for their children. Some progress!

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Baker vs. Idaho Power: A fixed game from the start

Recently, I obtained tickets for the B2H bowl held in the Baker County Courthouse. Attendance was minimal, since little — if any — notice was given about the game. Due to price caps the home team, the Bakerites, were poorly represented, but did their best against a professional, well-practiced, Idaho Power visiting team who, unrestricted by price caps, played an extremely physically political game quickly wearing out Baker. 

Questionable rule interpretations seriously marred the match-up since the BLM, reffing, began the game by letting Idaho Power have the ball with no coin toss. Immediately Idaho Power went long, using a, “divided they fall,” alternatives play, splitting the Bakerite defense by proposing various minor adjustments where to run the line within the county.

Baker locals finally got the ball deep in its own territory and gallantly tried to run the ball but unfortunately, the rain began and the b.s. used to fertilize the field, became extremely slick.  A fumble ensued and Idaho Power insisting that they recovered, quickly scored with a “we don’t care play.”

On their next possession, the Bakerites, trying to point out that Idaho Power was running the power line through five Oregon counties while only using one of its own, lost yards and punted.

Bakerites countered with a “we get nothing” offensive and a brilliant, “statue of: it will ruin our tourism trade if the power line goes in,” play. They might have reached the end zone but their runner was blatantly faced-masked down by Idaho Power and the infraction was not called by the BLM referee. 

Once again,  Baker was forced to punt.

Idaho then scored with a “we pay local taxes double reverse,” and then continued to run up the score by using the old and deceiving, “there really is an imaginary need for the power line” play.

The game was called and the BLM referee pronounced there would probably not be an extension of the season and that, unless the Bakerites really started protesting, the season would end March 19. Nevertheless, Baker has vowed a comeback. For the sake of fair play, let’s hope they do. 

Whit Deschner

Baker City

Don’t discount the risks of vaccinations

As I read through the waiver before signing it, I gulped at the possible things that could happen to my baby as a result of the vaccinations. I pushed the nagging fears aside as unreasonable and signed it. Done. I’ve been a “responsible” parent.

But that troubling feeling didn’t go away, so I began to look more closely into the safety of vaccinations. 

That was 22 years ago. Since then my research on the so-called “safety” of vaccinations has filled my file. And I’ve come to a better understanding of what it means to be a good and responsible parent: Knowing vaccine risks and failures and weighing those against the benefits.

Risks? Some of the more serious ones:  convulsion/seizure, high fever, high-pitched screaming (“purple crying”?), collapse/shock, brain inflammation. $3 billion in federal vaccine injury compensation has been awarded to vaccine victims in America. (Nat’l Vaccine Injury Comp. Program Statistics Report — July 1, 2014).  The Institute of Medicine has published a series of reports confirming that vaccines can cause injury AND DEATH!! (As referenced in the article “Back-to-school Vaccines: Know the Risks and Failures” on the National Vaccine Info. Center web-site NVIC.org). 

Let’s look at a bit of the history of medicine.  There were many practices that were initially embraced that were eventually shown to be in error and thrown out. One example is the practice of bleeding a sick person to get rid of the “bad blood.” George Washington was bled to death. We don’t do that anymore.

Let’s not make the same mistake with vaccinations. Know the risks and failures, and don’t discount those who have done their research (even though they might not have a medical degree) and have chosen not to vaccinate based on what they found. 

Mary Andersen

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 25, 2015

Baker County shows integrity in fighting for public access

Integrity: “An adherence to moral principles, honesty.” 

Where has that gone, and why can’t we find it in the discussion on the motorized access restrictions to the Blue Mountains?

Some work in shades of gray, elected to positions they feel they need to protect to continue their paychecks and their positions of power. Some work in backdoor deals to protect their business venture to access resources they need to keep themselves afloat. Some work in “partnership” with groups that strive to see general motorized use removed from the forest under some moral calling of protectionist dogma that inflates their egos and swells their pocketbooks with lawyer fees. When companies begin to state “why does the public need to be there” and civil servants tell businesses that “any interference or preventing the Forest performing road closures will jeopardize timber outputs on the Forest,” we see the lack of integrity from both elected officials and civil servants alike.

For the record, the counties do not “lose their seat at the table” if they refuse to sign the MOU accepting cooperating agency status with the Forest Service. This narrative has been passed around by county officials far too long. What it does require is elected officials doing their jobs and being held personally accountable for their actions. Instead of giving themselves political cover when they sell our access down the river.

One county has shown personal integrity to protect its residents to see a forest plan revision developed that protects the quality of life for all their residents, not just the few influential companies that benefit from the “go along to get along” mentality, and that is Baker County.

Integrity isn’t about doing what is easy, or personally advantageous. Integrity is standing behind the words you say and doing what is right. That seems to be sorely missing from a great deal of elected officials and civil servants nowadays.

John D. George


Why should Baker give up financial benefits of pot?

Lumber mills gone, potato contracts — poof, mining and logging at a virtual standstill, boarded up storefronts... So what does that leave Baker County? I can think of cattle, hunting, fishing and tourism (a short list agreed but I bet I’m not far off). Suddenly in steps marijuana. Not the marijuana of “Reefer Madness” but the legal, regulated, taxable kind — a veritable gold mine if the cards are played correctly.

I am somewhat amazed at the talk of a “pot sales ban.” Not only is it inviting a lawsuit (something I hardly think the city can absorb) but literally throwing tourist dollars out the window. 

It’s not the dark ages anymore, although after reading that Baker City denied chronically ill patients local access to an inexpensive natural medicine proven to alleviate pain and combat the horrific effects (including nausea and appetite loss) of chemo therapy / radiation — I’m not too sure. Shame on you.

I can’t help but picture the fierce opponents of anything marijuana with their fingers wrapped around a whiskey bottle, beer or wine glass (I’m pretty sure which one causes more misery — you can look up all the comparisons if you have doubts).                      

Did Baker attempt to opt out of legal, regulated liquor sales or legal, regulated tobacco, gambling, firearms? If not, why not? Please tell me the difference? If you want to talk about crime, the children... I refer you directly back to alcohol, tobacco, firearms and gambling — “existing templates for regulation.”

Sorry I got off track, back to the tourism angle. Marijuana has a couple of fairly benign, well-documented effects: eating = local restaurants and grocery stores, sleepy = local motels and coffee shops. Baker City also has a main arterial to Idaho and, guaranteed, Nevadans and Californians will be coming.

Don’t let Ontario or La Grande snatch all the tourist money. If Senate Bill 542 comes to fruition Baker City would also reap the benefit of local taxation on sales. From what I’ve seen and read (crumbling roads...) I doubt Baker can afford to ignore any kind of potential revenue,  but then again...  

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 20, 2015

Wolves: Good for national parks, bad for livestock 

Twenty years after being reinstated in Yellowstone National Park, wolves are moving into Oregon. We are still trying to figure out if reintroducing wolves to the Northwest is a good idea.

Wolves are endangered. This allows them to repopulate what was once their vast hunting ground. The beautiful creatures have been settling in nicely in many of their previous homes. In Yellowstone, wolves naturally glide into the ecosystem. Now that the elk numbers have dropped to around 5,000-6,000 head, the increase in the wolf population has also begun to level off. Elk herds are now at healthy levels. With wolf threat imminent, only the strong survive. Wolves are obviously an integral part of a wild ecosystem.

Unfortunately, outside national parks wolf numbers continue to rise, even though deer and elk numbers have dropped. So why does what works inside Yellowstone not work outside? It’s actually a fairly simple answer: livestock. Sheep and cows are easy prey. While some studies show that only small portions of cattle deaths are predator-caused — mostly not wolves — a study done by Oregon State University revealed that when cows are exposed to wolf scent, a condition similar to PTSD occurs. Stress can cost a rancher $261 per head annually in weight loss and lower pregnancy rates. Wolves may not kill as many livestock as other predators, but their effect on herd health will drive up production costs. Small ranchers risk going out of business, while large operations must increase prices to cover the added costs. When that happens, consumers see it at the grocery store.

In a natural environment wolves can match their numbers to the availability of game, while at the same time keeping the herds healthy. When it comes to an ecosystem where food supply is essentially unlimited, wolves cause major damages, especially to producers’ and consumers’ pocket books. Repopulating the wolves in national parks is beneficial to the animals there; however, spreading these creates to areas with livestock is detrimental to a very large community, which includes livestock, wild game and people.

Aiden Coomer

Baker City

Obama needs to call out radical Islam for its actions

There’s a lot of empty talk about Islam. Who are the good Muslims and who are the extremists. According to the Koran, the holy book, Islam means “submission” not “peace.” If you’re not a Muslim you’re a pagan or infidel and are to be killed. That’s what the book says.

I understand that at times the Koran can be changed to please some new revelation, which makes one wonder about its facts. A reading of the Koran placed against the events of Muhammad’s life indicates “revelation” changed according to circumstances of his life. An entire doctrine grew up around the radical change in his teaching. The doctrine of “abrogation” which means “annulment.” It’s simply a newer revelation from Allah that can cancel and replace an old one because the newer ones are better.

Looks to me like the radical are closure to scripture than the good people. I also believe it is time for Obama to call these so and act. Quit protecting them, and putting down the Christians every change he gets. Lots of red flags coming out fo the White House. After the prayer breakfast it makes one wonder over Obama’s true beliefs and faith.

Richard Fox

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 11, 2015

Abortion rates are lowest since Roe v. Wade

I always read Mr. Sundin’s letters to the editor. He makes me laugh and then I get sad. If only life were like his latest letter predicted it would be, life would be wonderful. Unfortunately, it is not.

Since Mr Sundin does not quote his sources for his statistics I will quote mine: https://guttmacher.org/media/nr/2014/02/03/index.html. The Guttmacher is an organization which deals with statistics. In 2011 the abortion rate was the lowest it’s been since 1973 when Roe v. Wade legalized abortions. Abortions are being performed at an earlier age, eight weeks, thus risk to the mother’s life is much less and an eight-week collection of cells cannot survive outside the mother’s body. Thus, they are not children quite yet. Not all mothers love their children, Mr. Sundin. Some beat them, try to cook them in ovens or as was done recently in Portland, throw them into rivers to drown. Not all mothers should have children and most importantly, men have no right in telling a woman what she can or can’t do with her own body. Would you like Congress to make a law that after the age of 25 all men get castrated? Think about it. 

Iva M. Mace

Baker City

Even an old paper can shed fresh light on Baker

Being an extremely curious newbie to this fresh world called Baker City I wanted to let Jayson Jacoby know how much I appreciated his article/editorial of Jan. 23: “In 1898, Portland gushed over Baker City, Sumpter.”

It not only revealed some incredible history (who knew about the “Panic of 1893” — or that Baker City was at one time larger than Pendleton? — certainly not me!)  but also showed how the news, even in 1898, can mislead. 

Thank you, Jayson, for the research and dissection of the local history, I applaud your unbiased look at the newspaper industry. 

I also want to thank Kim Lethlean and Leo Poe for sharing their April 28, 1898, copy of The Evening Telegram with you. Without that sharing I would have been denied a local history lesson, an incredibly entertaining story and outstanding journalism.

Mike Meyer

Baker City

Tell your county leaders: Coordinate, not cooperate

First of all I would like to thank the County Commissioners from Baker and Wallowa counties for sticking up for its citizens and rejecting the Forest Service’s attempt at getting them to sign a Cooperation Agreement trading their rights just for a seat at the table.

I hope the rest of the counties that are involved in the Blue Mountain Revision will take a hard look at what the two above counties have done to protect the rights of the county. Ask your Commissioners to give the Baker and Wallowa County Commissioners a call and find out why they made the stand that they did.

Wednesday was a meeting day for most County Commissioners and I am sure that some of them made a decision one way or another. People out there concerned about losing their roads need to call or email their respective County Commissioners and ask about just where they intend to take the county. If it is anything but “Coordination” get ready for a big loss of roads in your county.

 It is crunch time we either stand our ground or lose a major portion of your roads and trails access. Be proactive and go to the Commissioner’s meetings, make an appointment with them, email or text them. The Tribes said it all, no Cooperation for them, it is government to government using coordination, why not us, don’t we deserve the same as the Tribes?

Chuck Chase

Baker City

Writer gives Baker          well-deserved accolades

Thank you for Betty Duncan’s letter of Feb. 4. She gives well-deserved accolades to Baker City. As a lifelong Baker resident, I agree completely, as I love this town and its people, same as Betty does.

I will share a quote written to me recently from a former Baker resident: “Baker City is such a wonderful slice of classic small town Americana that any holiday there seems heartwarming and special.”

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Feb. 6, 2015

Roe v. Wade: A legacy of wasting lives

Ask most Americans if they know what Roe vs. Wade was all about, and they can identify it as the Supreme Court decision which overturned dozens of state laws and made abortions legal at any stage of pregnancy. It is most likely the best known Supreme Court case of our time. That decision was handed down around this time of year.

In the forty-some years since then, around 55 million abortions have taken place in this country. If those aborted fetuses had been allowed to continue to term, a majority of them would now be adults. Most would have lived very ordinary lives. They would have worked as waitresses and long haul truck drivers, grease monkeys and bank tellers. Some would have become professionals — teachers, doctors, journalists, lawyers, accountants. Many would have joined the military, or a labor union, or a church.

Most would have married. They could have become the husbands and wives of our children and the parents of our grandchildren.

A few would have been extraordinary people. Perhaps one would have become a scientist, who would discover a cure for cancer. One might have become an outstanding baseball player, inspiring thousands of young fans. One might have become a philanthropist, whose charitable efforts would brighten the lives of otherwise wretchedly unhappy people. One could have been a writer, whose poetry brought beauty into human hearts.

But we’ll never know what might have been, for those 55 million little human beings were not allowed ever to see the light of day. That potential human wealth is lost forever.

Children are our dearest treasure. We love them, nourish them, guide them and protect them from harm. We rightly despise the human demons that enter schools and snuff out innocent lives. Yet since Roe vs. Wade, we as a nation have thrown away so many of our children.

Pete Sundin

Baker City

Letter to the Editor for Feb. 4, 2015

Maybe Idaho Power will understand Dr. Seuss

Dear Idaho Power, please find in the enclosed parcel:  

1 (one) GPS (Global Positioning System) navigator. 

I am sending you this because you are obviously lost or your route planners are complete morons.  You are definitely in the wrong place. Permission to run your power lines is, to the west of here, an Energy Corridor generously mapped out by our government to help you, a private company, shuffle your power around with minimum hassle to generate dividends for your shareholders, obviously none of whom live in this area. 

1 (one) Unabridged Merriam-Webster Dictionary dog-eared on page 969 where you will find the word, ‘no’ highlighted with a yellow marking pen. It is a fascinating word, an adverb, usually used to answer a question. But you never asked any questions. You just barged your way in with wrong assumptions, such as:  

• That we rural Oregonians wouldn’t care if your unnecessary, ghoulish, ugly transmission lines scar and desecrate our rural landscape.

• That you could turn a quick buck compromising our lifestyle and values.

1 (one) hearing aid generously donated by the Dr. Seuss Audio Corporation. This hearing aid is top-of-the-line and you should have no problem hearing what we here in Baker County are saying and have been saying all along:

We do not want your transmission lines

We do not want to hear them whine

We do not want them here or there

We do not want them anywhere

We do not want them near our house

We do not want to disturb sage grouse

We do not like them high and spanned

We do not like them on our land

We do not want them through the trees 

Why can’t you just let us be?

We do not like your company 

We like our vistas pylon free

We do not want lines near or far

Why can’t you leave things as they are? 

We do not want your power grid 

We will not feed your greedy id 

We do not want your lines here or there

We do not want them anywhere! 

Whit Deschner

Baker City

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 26, 2015

Flat tax system would benefit government 

No matter where I have resided  (to be honest, only Vancouver, Washington, and Baker City,) I have been drawn to the opinion page of the local newspaper. It gives one a little idea of the local mindset. 

  On Dec 24, I couldn’t help but be impressed by Marshall McComb’s letter  “America must return to economic fairness.” I hope others noticed. This is an incredibly well-written, well- thought-out wake-up call to all of us, especially in a dangerously depressed economy such as Baker City. 

   I am only hoping that his ungodlike depiction of Ronald Reagan did not stop personal investigation. That very depiction, and the “union busting” reference, is why it should have never stopped mine, but I was busy ...  And then ...

   On Jan 9, “America must deal with income inequality” — Mr. McComb was not giving up!

I noticed. Every citizen needs to notice.

I had saved the paper with his first letter on this subject  (as far as I know) because I planned on a response ... but I got busy.

I now want to tell Marshall McComb that I would have never considered watching “Inequality for All” except for his persistence. Thank you Marshall! You are absolutely right. Everyone should watch it. This whole inequality thing never ends. 

I often wonder what happened to the “flat tax” idea and conversation? Seems like an (across the board) 5- to 15-percent flat tax could fix a lot of problems. It has always been said that, with this kind of system, the government would have more revenue than ever before. My guess is that the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) along with big government would do anything in its power to stifle such a proposal. Think of the downsizing. Thousands of well-paid paper shufflers, policy makers and complicated tax code writers would suddenly be out of a job. That would mean smaller government and, if we have learned anything in this life, we know, somewhere along the line, that idea, as well as the flat tax discussion, was put to rest. 

Thirty five years union, retired and still struggling.   

Mike Meyer

Baker City

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